perception of time: “instantaneity”
Monet once said that he wished he’d been born blind and later gained sight. That way he would be able to look at the world freed of the knowledge of what the objects were so that he could more fully appreciate their color.
– Leonard Shlain, in Art & Physics
Water Lilies [Nymphéas]
– – –
These landscapes of water and reflections have become an obsession.
It’s quite beyond my powers at my age, and yet I want to succeed in expressing what I feel.
For me, a landscape does not exist in its own right,
since its appearance changes at any moment.
– Claude Monet
– – –
Monet Refuses the Operation
Doctor, you say that there are no haloes
around the streetlights in Paris
and what I see is an aberration
caused by old age, an affliction.
I tell you it has taken me all my life
to arrive at the vision of gas lamps as angels,
to soften and blur and finally banish
the edges you regret I don’t see,
to learn that the line I called the horizon
does not exist and sky and water,
so long apart, are the same state of being.
Fifty-four years before I could see
Rouen cathedral is built
of parallel shafts of sun,
and now you want to restore
my youthful errors: fixed
notions of top and bottom,
the illusion of three-dimensional space,
from the bridge it covers.
What can I say to convince you
the Houses of Parliament dissolve
night after night to become
the fluid dream of the Thames?
I will not return to a universe
of objects that don’t know each other,
as if islands were not the lost children
of one great continent. The world
is flux, and light becomes what it touches,
becomes water, lilies on water,
above and below water,
becomes lilac and mauve and yellow
and white and cerulean lamps,
small fists passing sunlight
so quickly to one another
that it would take long, streaming hair
inside my brush to catch it.
To paint the speed of light!
Our weighted shapes, these verticals,
burn to mix with air
and changes our bones, skin, clothes
to gases. Doctor,
if only you could see
how heaven pulls earth into its arms
and how infinitely the heart expands
to claim this world, blue vapor without end.
– Lisel Mueller
– – –
Rouen Cathedral, the West Portal and Saint-Romain Tower
You’ll understand, I’m sure that I’m chasing the merest sliver of color.
It’s my own fault. I want to grasp the intangible.
It’s terrible how the light runs out. Color, any color, lasts a second, sometimes 3 or 4 minutes at most…
When you go out to paint try to forget what object you have before you
– a tree, a house, a field or whatever.
I would like to paint the way a bird sings.
– Claude Monet, 1840 – 1926
Monet in the 20th Century
Paul Hayes Tucker
Monet is only an eye, but – oh, what an eye!
– Paul Cézanne